8 Vegetable Curry

3 November 2022

Taking inspiration from the traditional Nyonya vegetable curry, I added some different elements in this dish to give it a contemporary twist.

Incidentally, the number 8 in Chinese means prosperity and this is often a favourite when I was growing up during Chinese New Year. No reason, why we can’t have it all year round!

Food styling by Pelita Lim.

2 lemongrass, white part only
3 Asian shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp shrimp paste
1 tbsp dried shrimp, soaked in warm water for 10 minutes then drained
Vegetable oil to fry plus extra
2 tbsp AYAM sambal oelek
1 heaped tbsp AYAM curry powder
270ml can AYAM coconut milk
1 ½ cup vegetable stock
1 cup Asian cabbage, roughly chopped into medium pieces
5 snake beans, cut into 5 cm batons
½ cup enoki mushrooms, trimmed
3 black fungus, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes
¼ cup plain flour
¼ cup cold sparkling water
½ cup shimeji mushrooms
10 mini tofu puffs
½ cup canned bamboo shoots
¼ cup canned water chestnuts
1 tbsp AYAM fish sauce

In a food processor, blend lemongrass, shallots, garlic, shrimp paste and dried shrimp to a smooth paste.

Warm up 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a heavy based saucepan over medium high heat. Fry paste for 1 minute then add sambal oelek and curry powder. Fry for 30 seconds.

Add coconut milk and vegetable stock. Bring mixture to boil then add Asian cabbage and snake beans. When mixture comes to a boil again, turn heat down to medium and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, blanch enoki mushrooms and black fungus then refresh in cold water. Shred black fungus. Set enoki mushrooms and shredded black fungus aside.

Combine flour and cold sparkling water to make a batter. Coat shimeji mushrooms in batter and fry in 180C oil until lightly brown. Drain and set aside.

Add mini tofu puffs, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and fish sauce to curry and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes.

To serve, ladle curry into a bowl. Top with shredded black fungus, then enoki mushrooms and battered shimeji.